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the mystery of the sarcophagus of Arles-sur-Tech

Arnulphe relieved the mule and emptied the water from the barrel which contained the Holy Relics in an old sarcophagus at the entrance to the abbey. A leper came to drink the water and was healed instantly. The monks, seeing this, closed the sarcophagus with its heavy marble lid. They began to draw water through a small hole to offer it to the sick.

The Holy Tomb is freed from the walls of the courtyard of the Abbey and raised from the ground by two blocks of marble. it fills with water over the days and is drawn by the village priest using a piston pump in order to perpetuate the tradition and offer it to the sick. The water in this sarcophagus is pure and is credited with healing and miraculous properties.

The most famous miracle is undoubtedly that of the healing of the lord of Taillet. He cured around 1200 of facial cancer. The origin of this water remains unknown and it is inexhaustible (except during the two world wars when the tomb remained empty).
Another testimony of healing was given more recently within the framework of the mystery show by a villager. Severely burned in a Saint John fire and cured with water from the sarcophagus.

What do scientists think?

In 1910, Father Crastre promised the reward of 1 francs to anyone who elucidated the mystery of the Holy Tomb of Arles-sur-Tech. This sum was deposited with a notary, but no one has yet claimed his due. Scientists then put forward several hypotheses and measurements and experiments were carried out.
One of the hypotheses seems to them the logical explanation. Both parts of the sarcophagus (the sarcophagus itself and its lid) are made of the same porous rock. Limestone from this rock dissolves in rainwater that passes through the permeable cover. The carbonates contained in this water settle on the bottom and make it impermeable. The porosity of the cover allows the filtration of rainwater. This is kept in the sarcophagus because the bottom has been clogged with sediment over the years. The lid and the sarcophagus were carved from the same block of stone.

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Continue reading tales and legends of holy relics, the Holy Tomb, monsters and fairies of Canigó.